In video message, Netanyahu says Blinken pledged to remove limits on US arms shipments

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video message issued on June 18, 2024. (Screenshot: GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video message issued on June 18, 2024. (Screenshot: GPO)

Following unsourced reports in Israeli and German media that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week that Washington would remove all restrictions on weapons transfers to Israel in the coming days, Netanyahu goes on the record with an assertion that the top American diplomat gave him assurances to that effect.

“When Secretary Blinken was recently here in Israel,” says Netanyahu in an English-language video, “we had a candid conversation, I said I deeply appreciated the support the US has given Israel from the beginning of the war.”

“But I also said something else, I said it’s inconceivable that in the past few months, the administration has been withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel.”

“Secretary Blinken assured me that the administration is working day and night to remove these bottlenecks,” Netanyahu says. “I certainly hope that’s the case. It should be the case.”

Netanyahu also says more US weapons will help finish the war more rapidly — something US President Joe Biden is eager to achieve, especially with a tough election contest underway.

“During World War II, [UK leader Winston] Churchill told the United States, ‘Give us the tools, we’ll do the job,'” says Netanyahu. “And I say, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job a lot faster.”

After Blinken’s ostensible pledge, Netanyahu reportedly told Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi to make sure, during their upcoming meetings with American officials in Washington, that the arms transfers have been fully restored.

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